WHITE LINES MAGAZINE, OCT 2020.
All aboard! The Surf Shuttle is one of Amplid’s new splitboards for the 2020/21 season. It’s built for endless repeat journeys into the backcountry. Combining the powder-primed shape of the Millisurf with the bombproof construction of the Tour Operator, it’s highly adept at holding its nerve in low tide, but truly comes to life when the waves are pumping.
Unlike solid snowboards, there are two factors to take into account when designing a splitboard: the way up, and the way down. Rather than just accepting the norms and, let’s face it, some of the downright annoyances of split technology, Amplid have taken things back to the drawing board.
“It’s highly adept at holding its nerve in low tide, but truly comes to life when the waves are pumping”.
With more moving parts comes an increase in wear and tear to your equipment. Consider how many steps you take in your average day’s touring. Consider how many of those steps you accidentally scrape past or ding the ‘skis’ against each other. Consider how many times you switch your bindings between walk and ride mode. It can only take a handful of tours before your kit’s looking haggard and has you flicking through the catalogues again the following season (although hopefully we’re not all that vain).
Thankfully, with Amplid’s Knuckle Sandwich construction, the top sheet has been replaced with a thicker Polyamide alternative which is highly resistant to scratches. Also, the pure black sintered base eliminates the signs of ugly P-tex scars that are often the result of colourful die-cut bases and ensures repair jobs always come up looking good.
Moreover, the Pre-Cured Impact Blates around the insert packs provide some durability against the constant on-again-off-again binding adjustments that can leave ugly scratches and scuffs. Enjoy more trips in the backcountry and fewer visits to the workshop after.
The Stratospheric construction utilises tiny, light-reflecting lenticular objects that sit on top of the upper laminate. These help to deflect heat away from the splitboard and avoid the dreaded melt-freeze cycle where snow can build up and double the weight of your splitboard in a matter of minutes and result in a constant battle between you and the snow, scraping your topsheet clear of snow all day. Amplid reckon their Stratospheric tech reduces solar transmittance by up to 51%.
“This is a workhorse, not a racehorse”
The shape forgoes some switch or freestyle potential in the backcountry, but it’s fair to say most of us aren’t chasing those kinds of thrills when faced with an untouched face or first drop on a couloir. The Surf Shuttle is all about the surfy, slashy, kick-up-snow-on-every-turn kind of vibes, with a tonne of power and response to hold you steady on any hell for leather descents. There’s a good amount of camber underfoot to maintain grip and stability in more variable conditions, with an early rocker rise and 3D profiled, powder specific nose to ensure the front end is always lifted.
A light yet solid wood core is sandwiched between biax laminates and basalt stringers that act as a suspension system to absorb vibrations and help maintain response and contact with the snow. There’s enough power in the construction and profile to make the Surf Shuttle a reliable vehicle in all conditions you’ll encounter in the backcountry, but the flex won’t feel so stiff that you lose out on any playfulness or slower speed control.
This is a workhorse, not a racehorse. Compared to the featherlight Millisurf, the Surf Shuttle prioritises rugged durability for splitboard aficionados who want a trusty steed to ferry them into the backcountry for seasons on end. The quality of this thing isn’t in doubt, it never was. But you only need to look at that shape to know just how good it’s going to be on the way back down.